“…I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry.
And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon.”
Pope Francis – April 1, 2022
The Holy Father issued this apology following private encounters between March 28th and April 1st with 32 Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors and youth from across Canada. In Rome, the delegates shared a range of lived experiences including from their time in residential schools, the resulting loss of culture and language, and complex relationships with the Catholic faith that continue to this day. Through shared prayers, the exchange of gifts and the telling of powerful stories, Pope Francis was moved by their courage, their commitment, and their resilience in the face of suffering. He emphasized his shame for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system and re-committed to visiting with them on Canadian soil.
The Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association (OCSTA) is pleased to recognize Pope Francis’ upcoming pastoral visit to Canada from July 24 to 29, 2022. The Pope’s visit will provide a unique opportunity for him, once again, to listen and dialogue with Indigenous Peoples, to express his heartfelt closeness and to address the impact of colonization and the participation of the Catholic Church in the operation of residential schools throughout Canada. The papal visit will also provide an opportunity for the shepherd of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to connect with the Catholic community in Canada.
“Acknowledging this significant step on the road to truth, understanding and healing,” the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association is committed to journeying with our Indigenous brothers and sisters in a true spirit of truth and reconciliation through active listening, prayer, and right action. We invite prayers for Pope Francis’ continued good health and a visit that advances truth and reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
The OCSTA invites you to explore the many resources available at the website created by the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops https://www.papalvisit.ca/. Here, you will discover various videos, Frequently Asked Questions, the Papal Visit Schedule, and the full text of the Holy Father’s remarks in Rome on April 1st. In addition, people who want to pray for this visit are directed to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle page of resources found here: https://ourladyofguadalupecircle.ca/spiritual-resources/prayers-and-rituals-of-reconciliation/
We ask for God’s abundant blessings to protect the Holy Father and strengthen him as he prepares for this special journey of truth and reconciliation.
Patrick J. Daly, OCSTA President